Category: Small But Powerful Tips

4 Unconventional CRM Strategies For Touching Base With Customers

(Source : http://blog.planningpod.com/2012/08/16/4-unconventional-crm-strategies-for-touching-base-with-customers/)

1. Invoice Notes
2. “How Can We Improve?” Calls
3. Open House / Party
4. The “Project Completion” (Or “Transaction Completion”) Thank You

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Hidden Pricing Power

Donald V. Potter discusses many tips on pricing, in his classic article “Discovering Hidden Pricing Power”, published in “Business Horizons” magazine, during November, December 2000. His inputs to go beyond the standard rate cards, % discounting, fixed price and T&M models, so that you have the edge when trying to make that sale.

Here are some useful tips from this wonderful article:

  • Bundle Benefits
  • Unbundle Benefits
  • Offer alternative service levels and price points
  • Link Future Purchases to Current Transaction
  • Understand the components of the cost better to keep cost and price moving together
  • Shift some of the price to suppliers
  • Set Prices Selectively, Not across the board
  • Move Prices in Smaller Increments
  • Raise Invisible Prices
  • Match Price Moves to the Market
  • Use Discounts strategically to build relationship with important clients
  • Price Against The Leader (Price it down when leader is reluctant)
  • Follow the leader (Move the prices up, if leader increases)
  • Seek out new segments that tolerate high prices

Venkatesan Sundaram,

Senior Director, CRMIT

Beware Of Inactive Inboxes

We have a curious problem in our apartment, Not something which can be resolved by calling a plumber or electrician.

There are 8 flats in this apartment and we have a small association of owners. We meet once in a while and discuss things such as maintenance fee, current issues, possible solutions etc.,

In paper, this sounds good, But in reality, it’s near impossible for us to gather all the house owners (just 8 of them) in one place. So, we kept postponing these meetings and many issues went untouched.

One fine day, we decided to sort this by using the power of internet. Someone created an Email group, asked all the owners to join there and we started interacting regularly. As we could read / respond to Emails offline at our convenience, this was very useful and we all liked it.

All, except two.

One of these owners, had an Email ID, But never used it. So he missed all important updates and was always raising a flag on every issue ‘when did you discuss this? I am not even aware of it!’

‘But we sent you an Email.’

‘Sorry, I don’t check my mail at all, you should have called me in phone and informed.’

Another owner, didn’t even know what an Email is. In fact, he never touched a computer in his life till date. So, he missed all updates too.

Thankfully, the other 6 owners had active Email IDs, and were checking / responding to Emails. But we could see some mismatches in the frequency of checking Emails, for example, couple of us checked Emails every few minutes, while others did it by end of the day, or even end of the week. As a result, we couldn’t make any decisions fast enough.

To summarize, eventho’ we had an Email group and discussing things, there is no assurance that all the concerned people get updated promptly. This brings down the overall effectiveness of the Email Group itself.

If this is the case with just 8 members, imagine what will happen with Marketing teams trying to push messages to hundreds of thousands of customers in their CRM Database. You may be sending a beautiful Email Newsletter, but 20% of your contacts may never open it, another 20% may open it late, effectively spoiling your party.

With “Social” messages, the risk is even higher. Most of your contacts in the CRM Database, may not be active in Social Media / check updates regularly, What is the point in touching base with them at great expense? May be they need to be contacted in a different channel?

To take care of this serious communication issue, it is advisable for marketing organizations to start analyzing their existing contacts and split them into different buckets such as:

  • Email Aware
  • Email Active
  • Social Media Aware
  • Social Media Active
  • None

This is just a sample, we may have more buckets like this, but the point is, if we know how active the contact is in various channels (by just asking them, “What is your preferred mode of communication? Email / Phone/ Twitter / Facebook / Others?”) we can push the same message to different people in different channels and expect a higher HIT Rate.

For example, a single campaign message may go to 20% of my contacts via direct mail (Post), another 20% in Email, 40% by Social Media etc., based on the bucket where they are. This way we ensure that a message has a higher chance of making an impact, by not falling on an inactive inbox / facebook wall.

Naga Chokkanathan

Senior Director, CRMIT

(Originally Published in http://nagachokkanathan.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/why-not-beware-of-inactive-inboxes/)

What To Monitor In A Tweet?

One out of every three Twitter users talk about brands in their tweets and that’s a fact. This is a good way to keep an eye on your brand. A tweet may look very small and even insignificant, but actually there are so many things that you can monitor in a single tweet. There is lot of business information that can be driven from this amazing social media tool. You can know a lot about your customer and their feelings by just carefully observing the tweets they write. Check out this picture, which talks about various things you can track from a single tweet.

There are various factors that can be considered while looking into a tweet of one of your customers or prospects and this can be mapped to your CRM data, as well. While Twitter not only works as an opinion poll, it also helps people to build an instant “backchannel”. And if your prospects are online most of the time, monitoring the tweets and responding to them promptly, can immensely help with business development and augmenting customer service.

Charu Mehta

CRM Consultant, CRMIT

Clarity In Communication

Saw a newspaper advertisement for a general insurance service, with the following text prominently displayed:

No Claim Bonus

Of course, people in the insurance industry / those who bought insurance / made claims earlier will immediately understand this as:

If you don’t make any claims in the policy period, you get a bonus

However, assuming most of the  people reading this advertisement (and are primary targets) are laymen and won’t understand this “No Claim” terminology, what will they see in this Ad?

No Bonus

You may call that silly, but when I look at the words “No” and “Bonus” near to each other, I naturally assume this company is refusing to pay me bonus (for whatever reason). There is no clarity to teach me that they are actually paying me bonus, for not making any claims.

This whole  communication gap could’ve been avoided if the company did some beta testing of its Advertisement text, they would have come up with better alternatives such as:

Bonus for No Claims

Attractive No-claim Bonus

When millions of dollars are spent on advertisement, we can never ‘assume’ things, it is better to be clear, than create a wrong impression in the target readers’ mind.

Naga Chokkanathan,

Director, Presales, CRMIT

Subtle Marketing

Today I was reading an eBook. It is released by a marketing company, specializing in Social Media. They have different monitoring tools to listen to what people are talking about you in various Social Channels, and act accordingly.

However, this eBook had nothing to do with Monitoring. Instead the book talks about how Pinterest, the newest ‘Social’ darling can be utilized by businesses. They were showing samples on how various companies are enjoying added traffic / eye balls because they decided to join Pinterest, or provide a way for their readers to ‘Pin’ their articles.

To prove that Pinterest is really useful, this eBook had lots and lots of screenshots. Very useful for someone new to this. I liked it.

But the best part is, all those screenshots had a text description like this : “This is a screenshot from our <<<>>>> monitoring tool”.

What a nice, simple, subtle, yet powerful way of marketing your product! The reader wants to know if Pinterest is really going to help them, the book provides proof that it is the case, at the same time also conveys an indirect message ‘If you want to confirm Pinterest is really working for you, go for our Monitoring tool. It works, here is the proof!’

Naga Chokkanathan

Director, Presales & Innovation, CRMIT

Be careful when you buy content for your website

I saw this interesting picture today in web. It shows how two insurance companies which are competitors to each other are using the same picture in their website. It is a small mistake, but looks ugly from an end user point of view and affects your online image.

(Image Courtesy: http://twitpic.com/8kzj03/full)

This is an important tip to remember, when you are choosing content for your website:

  • If you are buying photographs from a person or an agency, make sure they are not selling it to somebody else, especially your competitor
  • This may mean you are paying something extra for exclusive rights to use that picture, go ahead and pay it, this is a small price for your online image